An Armenian Merchant from Poland Visits Safavid Persia | Michael Polczynski

48. Sefer Muratowicz

The early modern era was a period of tremendous fluidity in terms of borders of identities. In this podcast, we discuss the life and times of Sefer Muratowicz, an Armenian merchant born in Ottoman Anatolia during the late sixteenth century who settled in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and became an envoy to the Safavid Shah in Persia through his role as a merchant. Sefer left an account of his visit, which our guest Michael Polczynski has translated and analyzed. The account provides information about Sefer's journey as well as his diplomatic and mercantile activities, painting a picture in the process of some aspects of travel, diplomacy, and perhaps even espionage in borderlands regions during the early modern period.

Michael Połczyński is a PhD student studying Ottoman and Polish history at Georgetown University (see

Chris Gratien is a PhD student at Georgetown University studying the history of the modern Middle East (see
Fatih Çalışır is a PhD student at Georgetown University studying early modern Ottoman history (see

Select Bibliography

Juan, and G. Le Strange. Don Juan of Persia : A Shi'ah Catholic 1560-1604. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Matthee, Rudolph P. The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran : Silk for Silver, 1600-1730. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Muratowicz, Sefer, Józef Epifani Minasowicz, and Wawrzyniec Mitzler de Kolof. Relacya Sefera Muratowicza Obywatela Warszawskiego Od Zygmunta III Krola Polskiego Dla Sprawowania Rzeczy Wysłanego do Persyi w Roku 1602. W Warszawie: w Drukarni J. K. Mci y Rzpltey Mitzlerowskiey, 1777.

Nadel-Golobič, Eleonora. "Armenians and Jews in Medieval Lvov : Their Role in Oriental Trade, 1400-1600." Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique.

Szuppe, Maria. 1986. “Un marchand du roi de Pologne en Perse, 1601–1602.” Moyen Orient & Ocean Indien, XVI-XIX siecles 3: 81–110.

Sherley, Anthony. Sir Antony Sherley: His Relation of His Travels into Persia. London: Printed for N. Butter, and I. Bagset, 1900.


Sebouh Aslanian said…
Thank you for this informative discussion, which I will listen to closer in coming days. In the meantime, you might want to include the following important study to your otherwise fine bibliography:

Szuppe, Maria. 1986. “Un marchand du roi de Pologne en Perse, 1601–1602.” Moyen Orient & Ocean Indien, XVI-XIX siecles 3: 81–110.

My book, From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean also has background information and brief mention of Muratowics' journey based on Szuppe's study.

Sebouh D. Aslanian

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